Gaut­eng health boss fac­ing tough ac­tion

Cape Times - - WORLD NEWS - Bald­win Ndaba

‘We are co-op­er­at­ing with SIU, who are prob­ing our of­fi­cials’

GAUT­ENG Health Depart­ment head Bar­ney Sele­bano will be hauled be­fore a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing af­ter he lost his ap­peal against the find­ings of the Health Om­buds­man’s Esidi­meni re­port.

This was re­vealed by the Gaut­eng MEC for Health, Dr Gwen Ramok­gopa, while re­spond­ing to ques­tions from the DA’s Jack Bloom in the Gaut­eng Provin­cial Leg­is­la­ture yes­ter­day.

Ramok­gopa said her of­fice had wel­comed the de­ci­sion of the in­de­pen­dent ad hoc tri­bunal headed by re­tired Judge Pres­i­dent of the Gaut­eng High Court, Bernard Ngoepe, to dis­miss Sele­bano’s ap­peal.

She said the prov­ince would, through the of­fice of the provin­cial di­rec­tor-gen­eral Phindile Baleni, in­sti­tute dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against Sele­bano. Ramok­gopa also said that a sim­i­lar process would be un­der­taken against Dr Mak­gabo Manamela, who also lost her ap­peal.

Health Om­bud Pro­fes­sor Male­ga­puru Mak­goba also wel­comed the dis­missal of the ap­peal. In his find­ings, Mak­goba or­dered that “dis­ci­plinary hear­ings must be called against the head of depart­ment Dr Tiego Ephraim Sele­bano and di­rec­tor for men­tal health direc­torate Dr Mak­gabo Manamela for gross mis­con­duct and/ or in­com­pe­tence.

“The find­ings against these two doc­tors must be re­ported to their re­spec­tive pro­fes­sional bod­ies for the ap­pro­pri­ate re­me­dial ac­tion to be taken,” Mak­goba ruled.

Yes­ter­day, Ramok­gopa said they would in­sti­tute the dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings soon.

She con­firmed that one of the chief di­rec­tors, M Pitsi, who was also im­pli­cated in the re­port, has since won his ap­peal against the Health Om­buds­man’s find­ings and as a re­sult no dis­ci­plinary ac­tion would be brought against him.

Bloom wanted to know why one of the se­nior of­fi­cials, Levi Mosenogi, was not charged and in her re­ply Ramok­gopa said: “Levi Mosenogi, head of project planning, was not men­tioned as one of the of­fi­cials to be in­ves­ti­gated. He was a project man­ager dur­ing the first phase of the trans­fer but that role was taken by some­one else.”

How­ever, she said that of­fi­cials would study Mosenogi’s tes­ti­mony dur­ing the Esidi­meni hear­ings headed by for­mer Deputy Chief Jus­tice Dik­gang Moseneke and make a de­ci­sion on whether to charge him or not.

Ramok­gopa was re­act­ing to Bloom’s state­ment that Mosenogi im­pli­cated him­self dur­ing his tes­ti­mony be­fore Judge Moseneke.

She also in­di­cated that other of­fi­cials were found guilty dur­ing their in­ter­nal dis­ci­plinary hear­ings and most of them were given writ­ten warn­ings.

Ramok­gopa said they also re­ported them to their re­spec­tive pro­fes­sional bod­ies, such as the Nurs­ing Coun­cil.

In the leg­is­la­ture, Bloom cried foul over the fi­nal writ­ten warn­ings but Ramok­gopa al­layed the fears, say­ing the pro­fes­sional bod­ies could re­view their de­ci­sion.

Ramok­gopa was adamant that they wanted the fam­i­lies of the pa­tients who were trans­ferred from Esidi­meni to il­le­gal homes to get jus­tice.

“We are co-op­er­at­ing fully with the Special In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit (SIU), who are prob­ing our of­fi­cials for con­flict of in­ter­est. We are also co-op­er­at­ing with the po­lice and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity. We will help the fam­i­lies find jus­tice. It must never hap­pen again,” Ramok­gopa said.

Re­act­ing af­ter the dis­missal of Sele­bano and Manamela’s ap­peals, Bloom said: “All of­fi­cials in the Esidi­meni dis­as­ter should be dis­ci­plined, not only those specif­i­cally men­tioned in the Om­buds­man’s re­port.”

Pic­ture: NOKUTHULA MBATHA

MOR­TI­FIED: An emo­tional fam­ily mem­ber at the ar­bi­tra­tion hear­ings be­tween the State and the fam­i­lies of vic­tims in the Life Esidi­meni tragedy.

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